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Most effective weight loss diet

Updated on February 15, 2010
Image taken from  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhritz/75797080/ and used under Creative Commons- Attribution licence
Image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhritz/75797080/ and used under Creative Commons- Attribution licence

DIETS. Is it just me or does the very word convey the feeling of something rather unpleasant that you'd rather avoid? Almost like some sort of punishment or penance for enjoying yourself a bit too much recently, so you have to subject yourself to a few weeks of misery to make up for it? Most of all, does the word automatically give you that feeling of frustration and disappointment that comes with not getting the results you were hoping for?

A diet by definition is something that you go on for a short period hoping for fast results, and then you come off it and go back to your regular habits. How could you really expect lasting results from one month of starvation, followed by 11 months of over indulgence? More often than not the weight comes back with a vengeance and you end up even more overweight than you were to start with!

I've observed a few people going on and off fad diets over the years. Nice, intelligent and knowledgeable people – who for some reason were uneducated about nutrition and susceptible to bad advice. I'd see these people making themselves miserable on the “only eat soup” diet, the “only eat low fat yogurt with no flavouring” diet, and the “nothing but fruit juice” diet as well, and then I've watched them put all the weight (and then some more!) back on again within a week or two of finishing the diet.

That's not even mentioning the “carb free” people who become so moody and irritable, and find it hard to make it through the work day without falling asleep at their desk!

The truth is, eating right is really a VERY simple thing. You don't really need to count calories (although personally I like to), or understand the function of carbohydrates and protein (although it does help a little), and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Really it is just a matter of using your common sense, and exercising a little bit of discipline in regard to junk food.

Eating aint cheating

Lets start at the beginning, with breakfast. You've heard the old saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Well, it's true! Skipping breakfast is one of the worst moves you can make if you want to lose weight. In fact I would go so far as to say that most of the most severely overweight people I have known have been breakfast skippers.

Find a good cereal that is high in fibre, and low in sugar. High protein is good as well. All this information is right there on the box! It's usually easy to tell the healthy stuff from the sugar coated stuff, but check the box anyway because sometimes they can be sneaky in trying to pass some poor choices off as a healthy product. Low GI is a good option for breakfast.

Now that you have kickstarted your metabolism with a good breakfast, it's important to keep eating regularly to maintain your energy levels and keep your metabolism running. Yes, you read correctly – I said you have to KEEP EATING to lose weight. Keep in mind I'm not talking about stuffing your face with junk food all day long, I'm talking about small healthy meals and nutritious snacks only. To try and put it very simply, if you provide your body with just enough fuel for the next 3 hours, and then fuel up again for the following three hours and so on, there's really no opportunity for your body to store any of that energy as fat.

So, we've had our breakfast and about half way through the morning it's time for some fruit. A banana, plus an apple or pear is an excellent choice. Make sure you eat the peel of the apple and pear as well though, the fibre is important!

For lunch... here's a list of the things you DON'T want; Anything deep fried or greasy is out! That means no hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries, chips or other fast junk foods. Pizza is out too.

It's best to prepare your own lunch at home, but if you're eating from a chain restaurant do your homework and make a good choice. Remember, this only has to keep you fueled for the next 3 hours, so watch the portion size! You really only want around 3-400 calories at lunch time if you are trying to lose weight. It's a good idea to include a salad with your lunch, to fill your stomach without adding too many calories, but be very wary of high fat / high calorie salad dressings.

Your next snack should be more fruit and maybe some nuts (raw and unsalted) to see you through to the end of the work day. You should be be feeling pretty good, but if you are a bit sluggish resist the temptation to ruin everything with one of those high-sugar energy drinks, and take a short walk instead to revitalise yourself. Find some stairs to climb if you can.

For dinner my rule is “nothing white at night”, so avoid pastas, potatoes, rice, and bread. These are all fine at lunch time although white bread is to be avoided at all times, choose a grainier alternative. Again the fibre is important. Vegetables and legumes are a good suggestion and a lean serve of meat if you are so inclined. Again, remember to watch the serving size!

Drink lots of water throughout the day, and avoid any candy, soft drinks or sodas, and any other junk food. And if you drink coffee, avoid all those high sugar & crème concoctions! Allow yourself one cheat meal a week, but limit it to one small serving, not a huge amount.

This is common sense advice that is easy to follow on a long term basis, and it works!

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